Saturday, October 4, 2014

New Blog!

Liked my blog? Head on over to my new one where I document the little things in my life that make me happy and document my interests to the blogging world.

http://mysmultronstalle.blogspot.com


Thanks and happy blogging! 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Banana Cake

My 1st Birthday Cake 
This banana cake has made many appearances throughout my life.  My mom says that this cake is what she made for each of our {my three siblings and I} first birthdays.  I can definitely say that I may carry on that tradition when I have my own kids, I mean what kind of kid wouldn't want a yummy banana cake with buttery frosting on it for their first cake? The first cake can make a great impression, and you want to make sure it doesn't disappoint! The recipe was passed down by her mom, so it's a Halloran family insider.

This was my first time making the cake, and I wish I had tried to make it earlier!  Honestly it's just about the easiest cake to make.  Proof?  I had my seven year old sister, Nora, help me out.  She greased the pan for me and mashed up the bananas :)

Ingredients:
 2 cups cake flour, sifted
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sour milk {or see note in "How to"}
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla 
1 cup mashed bananas

How to:
  Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan.  Mash cut-up bananas up in a small bowl using a fork to press the chunks against the side.  Cream butter and sugar in a mixer, add the eggs.  Combine the flour, salt and baking soda in a small bowl.  Add the vanilla to the sour milk {Note: if milk is not sour, just add a dash of vinegar to it}.  Alternately add the dry ingredients and milk to the butter, sugar and eggs.  Add the mashed bananas last and mix. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Top with the white-butter frosting { and a candle? ;) }

Butter Frosting:
Ingredients:
6 tablespoons butter
4 1/2 to 4 3/4 cups sifted powder sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla {or almond flavoring!}




How to:
In a small mixer bowl beat butter till light and fluffy.  Gradually add about half of the powdered sugar, beating well.  Beat in the milk and vanilla/almond flavoring.  Gradually beat in remaining powdered sugar, then additional milk if necessary. 

xo

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Grilled Cajun Chicken Salad

Summer Chicken Salad
Here's a delicious summer salad to celebrate all the nice, warmer weather we've been having in Ann Arbor!  This is a delicious recipe with a kick of spice that's sure to be a crowd pleaser.  I made this along with the cheese scones I posted before leaving for Houston and together they made a delicious meal.  The dressing alone is delicious, but with the seasoned chicken it becomes an entire meal.  The ingredients may look extensive, but the meal is actually pretty simple to make.  Try it out and let me know what you think!  

Ingredients:
Seasoning:
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Salad Dressing:
1 3/4 cup buttermilk 
1/2 cup mayo {light}
2 T. chopped green onion
1/2 tsp grated lemon peel
2 T. chopped parsley
1 T. apple cider vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced 

Other:
1/2 lbs. skinless, boneless chicken breast halves 
1 5 oz pkg. mixed baby greens
1/2 cup pecans, toasted
1/4 cup dried cherries {or raisins}
red bell peppers
grape or cherry tomatoes

How to:

Seasoning: 
Mix ingredients to blend.

Dressing: 
Whisk 3/4 cup buttermilk, mayo, onion, parsley, vinegar, garlic, lemon peel and 1 1/2 tsp seasoning mix in medium sized bowl until blended.  Can be made a day ahead -- cover up and refrigerate.  Rub remaining seasoning onto chicken.  Place in medium sized bowl and pour the remaining 1 cup of buttermilk over the chicken, turning it to coat.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes to 3 hours.  Grill the chicken {med-high} for about 5 minutes per side.  Transfer over the cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes.  Combine greens, pecans, cherries, tomatoes and bell pepper with the chopped up chicken.  Toss with dressing and serve :)

xo

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Cheese Scones

The Best Cheese Scones You'll Ever Have

A staple food in my house seems to be these cheese scones.  They go well with soup, salads, grilled chicken..you name it!  They're also the perfect breakfast on the go :)  I actually made these, along with a salad I'll be posting, a few weeks ago.  Volleyball takes up so much time!  I've been really busy and in fact am about to leave on a flight to Houston for a tournament.  We've had some nice weather here in Ann Arbor, but recently it's gotten chilly again.  I'm looking forward to some sunshine!  Anyways, on to the scones..

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour 
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter or margarine, cut up
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk 

How to:  
Heat oven to 400 degrees F.  Put flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, dry mustard, and salt into a large bowl; mix well.  
Add butter and cut in with a pastry blender or rub in with your fingers, until the mixture looks like fine granules.  Add cheese and toss to mix.  
Break egg into milk {I broke it into the actual measuring cup to save containers} and beat with a fork, blending well.  Pour this over the flour mixture {top left picture} and stir with a fork until a dough forms.  
Turn out dough onto a lightly floured board and give 10 to 12 kneads {middle left picture}.  Make sure you don't overdo it or the dough will be too tough!  Cut dough in half and pat or roll into a approx. 6 inch circle. Cut circle into 6 wedges {bottom left picture}.  Place on un-greased cookie sheet {right picture}.  
Bake 12 to 15 minutes, or until medium brown.  Cool, loosely wrapped in a dish towel,  on a wire rack.  


enjoy for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

xo

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Stout Cupcakes

Stout Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache and Dark Chocolate Covered Pretzels

Let me just start by saying my family {and boyfriend} absolutely love these!  My family is part Irish, and so for St.Pattys day we like to do a nice Irish meal.  The meal this year was some corned beef and cabbage with potatoes and carrots, done in the slow cooker.  That was all delicious, but the dessert this year definitely stole the spotlight for the night!  My dad found these awesome cupcakes online and we decided to give them a try.  It's safe to say these are definitely staying in the family recipes!  The richness of the chocolate, stout and espresso topped with creamy ganache and crunchy dark chocolate covered pretzels will send you into chocolate heaven!  We even all had two :)


Ingredients:
FOR THE CUPCAKES
1 (12-ounce) bottle stout (I used espresso stout)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons instant espresso granules dissolved in two teaspoons warm water
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s Special Dark)
2 cups granulated sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

FOR THE GANACHE
12 ounces good quality semisweet chocolate; chopped
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

FINISHING TOUCHES
Chopped chocolate covered pretzel twists
Fine grain sea salt



How to:
FOR THE CUPCAKES
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line muffin tin with paper liners or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the stout, milk, vegetable oil, vanilla and espresso.
3. Beat in the eggs, one at a time until thoroughly incorporated. Add in the sour cream and mix until combined.
4. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cocoa, sugar, flour, and baking soda. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the stout mixture. Batter will be thin.
5. Bake for 18-22 minutes, until risen and set in the middle but still soft and tender. Cool completely on wire rack.
FOR THE GANACHE
1. Place chocolate in a large, heat safe bowl.  Set aside.
2. In a medium saucepan, heat heavy cream over medium heat until it just begins to boil. DO NOT walk away from the stove. The cream could boil over and you will be with a big mess to clean up.
3. Immediately pour hot cream over chocolate and let it sit for five minutes.
4. Begin stirring the cream with a wooden spoon or whisk starting in the center of the bowl and working your way outward. As you stir, you will see the cream and chocolate come together. Allow your ganache to cool for 15 minutes and stir in vanilla. Let ganache sit at room temperature for another 3-4 minutes before topping cupcakes.
TO DECORATE CUPCAKES
Invert the top of the cupcake into the bowl of cooled ganache, use a spoon or offset spatula to spread evenly. Finish cupcakes with chopped chocolate covered pretzels and a tiny pinch of fine grain sea salt.
{Note: My family let these sit in the fridge for about a half hour before we ate them, and we are storing them in there.  I like the ganache cold and I think it helps preserve the pretzels and prevent them from becoming soggy!}



xo

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Frozen Yogurt Bites

Frozen Yogurt Candies
Earlier today I was perusing through my home screen on Pinterest and I stumbled across this easy and healthy treat: frozen yogurt candies. They looked easy enough to make so when I got home I decided to try it out before I started my math homework.  Within an hour, I got them out of the freezer and voilà!  These delicious bite sized snacks were ready to eat :)

I served some to my mom and brothers and sister (all younger siblings) and they all enjoyed them!  My 7 year old sister compared them to small smoothies.  Definitely a good description!  

What You'll Need:
yogurt (I used Yoplait original in strawberry and raspberry lemonade) 
a cookie sheet
a plastic bag
scissors

How to:
1.  Scoop out the yogurt into a plastic bag.  Seal the bag, and cut a hole in the corner, similar to a bag of icing.
2.  Form dollops of the yogurt onto the cookie sheet.  {make sure the bag stays sealed, mine came undone without my notice and made a small mess!}
3.  Place the cookie sheet in the freezer for at least an hour before serving
There you have it!  Fun, bite sized "smoothies" that are a fun twist on a  classic, healthy snack.
Enjoy!

xo

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Creamless Creamy Tomato Soup

Cook's Illustrated Tomato Soup
Wow!  First off, I apologize for the huge delay in posts.  I'm so sorry!  I know I've been asked by many when I would have another recipe up.  I've had some tournaments recently and with finals next week I've just been very busy and not on the blogging scene.  I promise to post again soon and especially after finals {because third trimester senior = easy classes}.

Back to the soup now.

I actually made this little number a week or two ago.  Before practice I was looking for an easy meal to whip up that would be tasty and filling, since my practice takes up around 6 hours {driving and practice}. My mom suggested I try this awesomely easy to make tomato soup, so I worked on that and paired it with a grilled cheese sandwich.  The result?  A delicious meal that just about anyone would like.  Plus, the soup is much better than that tomato soup you can get in a can ;)

Ingredients:

 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion
3 medium garlic cloves
2 (28 oz) cans whole peeled tomatoes
3 slice high-quality white sandwich bread, crusts removed, torn into one inch pieces
1 tablespoon light brown sugar 
1 bay leaf
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
Salt and ground black pepper
1/4 cup minced fresh chives
optional: 2 tablespoons brandy

 How to:

1.  Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until simmering.  Add the onion and cook until softened, 5 to 7 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and the red pepper flakes {if using, I recommend them!} and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Stir in the tomatoes with their juice.  Using a potato masher, mash the tomatoes until there are no pieces larger than 2 inches.
2.  Stir in the bread chunks, sugar, and bay leaf and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the bread is saturated and starts to break down {about 5 minutes}
3.  Remove the bay leaf.   Working in batches, puree the soup with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil until smooth {1 to 2 minutes}.  Return the soup to a clean pot.
4.  Stir in the chicken broth and brandy, if using.  Bring to a brief simmer and season with salt & pepper to taste.  Serve and enjoy :)

I would recommend serving this with some grilled cheese or hot dogs in crescent rolls, yum!

xo